Many of us have been working from home for a while now, and chances are that's not going to change any time soon. That means paying attention to your posture is more important than ever – if your setup is wrong, there's potential to do yourself some serious damage.
Read on for some simple tips for ensuring good posture and avoiding aches and pains (and worse) while you work from home. Here are mistakes you're probably making, and what you should be doing instead.
1. Get off the sofa
Sure, your sofa is probably comfier than your office chair. And when your alarm sounds at 7am, the possibility of reaching for a laptop and smashing out a couple of hours of work right then and there, rather than dragging yourself out of bed, is undoubtedly appealing. But working from a bed or sofa isn't doing your back any favours.
"Sitting on [a bed or sofa] for extended periods puts a lot of pressure on your lower backs," says EMS Works (opens in new tab). "When working from home, sit at a desk or table with your coccyx and shoulders pushed back against the chair."
Head to our guide to the best office chairs for a range of comfortable options than also provide the support you need.
2. Stretch it out
Ensure your muscles don't tighten up by building some stretches into your working routine. "Take a moment, every day, to perform a few critical stretches in areas that can become strained after long periods of working."
There are plenty of stretches you can do without needing any special equipment or clothing. EMS Works suggests chin tucks, corner pec stretches and thoracic extensions. Alternatively, try these desk exercises.
3. Get up
Even if you have a great chair, sitting in the same position all day isn't great for you. If you're not getting up to walk to meetings, you can end up spending longer than you realise sat at your desk.
"You should break up your day with regular moments of movement so that you’re increasing blood circulation. Simply take a walk around your house or room, performing a few little stretches as you go."
You could also invest in one of the best standing desks to give you the option of not sitting down all day.
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4. Keep everything within arm's reach
"You’d be surprised at how much leaning across and constantly getting up and sitting down again can impact the way we sit," says EMS Works. Take the time to rearrange your desk and ensure the things you need are stored within easy reaching distance. If you're short on space, prioritise those things you use most regularly throughout the day.
5. Keep it up
You've got yourself all set up and sitting tall, but are you staying that way? "After around 15 minutes of sitting, it’s common for humans to naturally slouch," says EMS Works. Try to check in with what you're doing at regular intervals – use a reminder on your phone if you need – to make sure you're maintaining that good posture.